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Lithuania is the southernmost Baltic state in Europe, and was formerly a part of the Soviet Union. This charming country is composed of impressive historical monuments, sand dunes, beaches and stretches of forests and woodlands. Adding to this, it displays a combination of European and Russian influences along with a tinge of gothic elements, making it an exciting destination to explore.
Lithuania’s capital Vilnius is a historical city dotted with baroque architecture. Its well-preserved Old Town is a UNESCO world heritage listed area and houses most of the city’s historic buildings and monuments like the Gediminas Castle which offers panoramic views of Vilnius and the 16th century Vilnius University. There are also a few WWII memorials and museums and plenty of green spaces that offer pleasant walks.
Trakai is a beautiful town located near the capital and is a popular day-trip from Vilnius. The town’s historic monuments, lakes and forests are a part of the Trakai Historical National Park, the highlight of which is the 14th-century Trakai castle, which is located on an island in Lake Galve.
Vilnius can also be your base for exploring the oldest national park in Lithuania – Aukstaitija National Park. It is one of Lithuania’s prime nature destinations with numerous lakes and dense forests.
Lithuania’s second-largest city, Kaunas is known for the 14th-century Kaunas castle, WWII memorial Ninth Fort, the eccentric Devil’s Museum and its Old Town with German architecture. It also hosts multiple religious landmarks, out of which the Pazaislis Monastery is notable for its remarkable frescoes. Apart from its historical importance, Kaunas also has a vibrant nightlife and cafe culture.
Located on the Baltic coast, Palanga is a resort town known for its sandy beach. Often referred to as the summer capital of Lithuania, it has a few historic sites and is lined with top-notch restaurants, cafes and bars.
Further south along the Baltic Coast, lies a 100 kilometer long thin stretch of sand dune called the Curonian Spit, which is one of Lithuania’s most popular destinations. Lithuania shares this UNESCO world heritage site with the Russian territory Kaliningrad.
Located about 12km north of Siauliai City, the Hill of Crosses is a popular pilgrimage site in Lithuania. The site is home to more than 100,000 crosses, crucifixes and statues of the Virgin Mary. The site looks pretty scary and seems like the setting for a horror movie rather than a sacred spot! Nobody knows the exact reason for the site’s existence, but it is believed that the first crosses were placed after the 1831 Polish-Russian war. You can also add a cross by yourself, which can be bought from the vendors in the parking lot.
Located somewhere between Palanga and Siauliai, Zemaitija National Park is an excellent place for a nature break, swimming, biking or walking.
It might be surprising to note that at one point in history, Lithuania was the largest European nation, with borders extending over parts of its neighbours. The Indo-European Lithuanian language is also one of the oldest spoken languages in the world that shares similarities with Sanskrit. Lithuania offers a unique European experience – it’s interesting cultural mix, architectural styles, fairytale castles and natural delights are ready to welcome all kinds of visitors.
The popular pilgrimage site, Hill of Crosses is home to more than 100,000 crosses, crucifixes and statues of the Virgin Mary.